On for young and old - Waikouaiti preview

By Tayler Strong

Ken Barron, a newcomer to the invited drivers series at Waikouaiti on Tuesday, has drawn ace prospects in Booster and Zhenya.

The inaugural series featuring young and experienced drivers from New Zealand and Australia was won last year by Dexter Dunn, who is back to defend his title.

Barron, David and Zac Butcher are new contestants competing for a $2000 cash prize donated by Greg Brodie.

Lance Justice and Amanda Turnbull are again representing Australia.

Stakes have been increased and a $2000 prize introduced for the leading trainer.

The prize has been sponsored by Patricia Campbell.

She is a long-time client of trainer Bruce Negus, who is helping organise the series .

Alabar have donated a service to Auckland Reactor which will be awarded the owner  of the winner of the main race for c2 and faster pacers.

Barron has been taking a back seat as a reinsman this season with Blair Orange joining the stable, but he drove Sarah Palin to win on the grass at Oamaru in December in a driver series.

Barron, who has won over 1000 races as a reinsman, drove Pickapocket to win the 2001Waikouaiti Cup.

Booster has won his last three starts but he is still eligible for the race for C0 pacers.

The four-year-old was trained for two wins at Invercargill by Murray Brown.

He was claimed for $7000 after his win on February 10 by Rory McIlwrick, a junior reinsman with the Ryal Bush stable of Nathan Williamson and subsequently won again at Winton. 

McIlwrick is an emergency for the series.

Booster ran ninth on grass at Cromwell early in January before his winning streak.

“He (Booster) seems alright and would improve on whatever he does on Tuesday,’’ said McIlwrick.

Zhenya (race 6) has not finished further back than fourth in her last six starts with wins at Winton and Omakau.

Her four wins have been on all-weather tracks but she has been placed on grass.

Barron will sit out the fifth heat of the series with the scratching of Match Point, who won at Winton on Saturday.

Barron will be allotted six points.

Match Point was making his first appearance from the stable of beach trainer, Graeme Anderson, who will be represented by Onedin Mach, a newcomer to the stable.

Onedin Mach, who has had foot issues, won three in a row early in the season for Nathan Williamson.

The Williamson-trained Aidan’s Rocket, who has won on grass at Oamaru and Gore, is a rival for Onedin Mach.

He ran second on grass at Gore on March 8 in his first race for four months.